This short wedding video was a unique opportunity. I had originally had prior engagements on the evening of Brittney and Chris’ wedding. However, those plans were postponed and that gave me the opportunity to shoot this wedding.
It was a small wedding, but, that didn’t stop if from being a beautiful wedding.
Congratulations to Mr. and Mrs. Chris Willis!
Nothing is more frustrating when we are shooting a wedding video, than to get to a church and find out that there is some mean little church lady on an ego trip and find out that we are only allowed to have a single camera in the balcony (this doesn’t make for a good wedding video).
The problem behind this is a church having strict rules. Most of the time, these rules are an absurdity brought about from a bad experience that the church had with a videographer who was offensive in his presence.
Our friend, Adam Forgione (Pennylane Productions) wrote this article and has a short film that shows some incredible examples of how these rules negatively affect your end product.
“No one seems to want to talk about this, but if you were to ask any photographer or cinematographer, I bet they would all share similar experiences about how strict churches dramatically limit the quality of their work. There is nothing worse than having an unhappy church representative walk up to you and say you aren’t allowed to do your job because of some unprofessional videographer or photographer who set a bad example in the past…”\
Please read the rest of the article here.
There is nothing about shooting a wedding that can’t be over come, however, the farther in advance these things are addressed, the easier it is for everyone.
An issue we run into often is getting an “are you serious” look when we discuss wedding video pricing with a potential client.
One common (and horrible) misconception is that just because the word “wedding” is involved, that photographers and videographers automatically charge more. This could not be further from the truth.
I stumbled across this article this morning and I think that the author does a wonderful job of explaining things.
(click on the image below to read the article)
I hope this helps shift the mindset that we are all a bunch of crooks who are out to take you for all you’re worth.
At G&H we strive for the highest quality we can provide. A lot of times that means we are doing something unorthodox or, at the very least, something that has our clients scratching their heads thinking, “what are these guys doing???”
Anything to get the right shot, right?
Well, that’s all great and good, but, there is something more fundamental beyond getting good looking video. You must first answer the question, “why is good video so important?”
Please take a moment to take a look at this article entitled “12 great benefits of video marketing.”
His 12 points are:
1. Video is where your customers spend their time.
2. Video is already helping your competition.
3. Video is easily searchable.
4. Video is shared easily and frequently.
5. Video levels the playing field.
6. Video entertains, educates, and inspires.
7. Video allows for real-time feedback and interaction.
8. Video is measurable.
9. Video lives forever, making it more cost-effective over time.
10. Video is one click away from the ‘buy’ button.
11. Video is about selling, not just playing around.
12. Video is mobile.
Again, I encourage you to visit this page “12 great benefits of video marketing” and read the entire article.
I would like to take things a step further and point out that the quality of video will make or break these benefits.
If you are wanting to use video in your marketing, make sure you go with a high quality production company (wink wink).
When it comes to shooting wedding videos, there are two questions that I receive more than any other questions:
- What are your prices?
- What kind of cameras do you use?
If you contact me about doing your wedding video, you can bet that within our first two conversations, that I won’t answer question number 1. It’s not snobbery, it is simply that our initial contact needs to be about getting a feel for each other. If you book me for my prices and not because you like me or my work, then you are going to be surprised by something we do and that may not be a good thing.
However, this post isn’t about that. This post is about question Number 2.
What kind of cameras do I use?
Let me start off by clarifying something: IT DOESN’T MATTER!
You may be thinking, “well, of course it matters. If I’m paying for the service, then I want to make sure you are using good equipment.”
Fair enough, but, ultimately, in the end, it is all based on the operator. For example, a great cameraman with an iPhone will shoot better footage than a poor cameraman with a $30,000 camera.
Having said that, I will answer your question.
Our primary camera is a Blackmagic Cinema Camera with an assortment of lenses. Without going into specifics, the cost of the rig is about the cost of a good used car.
Our secondary cameras are Canon DSLR cameras with different lenses.
As for our editing setup, we are using the Adobe suite with Davinci Resolve and several different software plugins that are currently being used on major motion pictures.
All in all, we have invested heavily in our equipment as well as in our education so we can deliver the best product available in our area.
You’re day is a special one. You should place the quality of those memories in the hands of someone who can preserve them in a way you want to remember them.
It’s not often that we are sad when a wedding is over. For us, it’s an 8 hour day (minimum) and we are on our feet running around like crazy people. Most of the time, we are glad when the day is over because that means we get to go to bed and recover.
This wedding, however, was a very different experience.
While on vacation, last month, I received a phone call from Megan at The Event Company asking if we were available to do a video on June 22nd in Midland. Fortunately, the date was open and we were able to book.
We arrived at the hotel where Shelbi was getting ready at about 3:30, just as hair and makeup were getting finished up and just in time for the dress.
Shelbi was, certainly, a stunning bride.
From there, we made a run over to the venue where things proceeded rapidly.
Kessler’s Hall was where the ceremony and reception were to take place. Megan and her crew did an incredible job. Anyone who had been there before would have found it to be unrecognizable.
At the reception, Caleb surprised his bride during their first dance. Instead of the DJ playing the scheduled song for the first dance, he, instead played a song that Caleb wrote for the occasion. That was a priceless moment that we were thrilled to have been a part of. It is also the song that was used in their spotlight.
Thomas Ross (the photographer) and his wife Erika were great to work with. They went out of their way to work with us, not just along side us. By the end of the night, we were wishing that we had the time just to hang out.
The last thing that really set this wedding apart was when, at the end of the reception, Caleb approached us asked if we had enjoyed ourselves, if we had been taken care of, and if there was anything we needed. That is a gesture that is rare and it did not go amiss.
The last mention I want to make is a special thanks to John Moore for helping us out as a third shooter. He was great to be around and was super helpful.
All in all, it was a great experience and one that I am glad to have been a part of.
Photographer: Thomas Ross (Thomas Ross Photography)
Wedding Coordinator: Megan Rowe (The Event Company)
What A Week!
Well, last night, we premiered our first short film at the 2013 Modern Pioneer Film Festival with Tim Day (dayatthemovies.com). It won the festival and we were asked to do an interview and panel.
This was truly an incredible experience and we hope to have many more.
I must thank our cast and crew (Jacob, James Wheeler, and Abby Johnson) because they made this movie happen. Below are links to the movie and the festival.
The Hostage Movie
The 2013 Modern Pioneer Film Festival interview
Something A Little Different
It has been a while. It has become rather apparent that blogging isn’t a habit that has been easy for me to get into.
Lately, we have found a little break in the wedding video side of things and have ventured into making a short film.
A few months ago, Jacob and I made a faux-movie trailer for one of his media classes. After completing it, Tim Day (Day at the Movies) asked us to submit a film to the Lubbock Christian University Film Festival. It wasn’t a hard decision to make.
Last month, or so, I wrote a script and last week we started production. So far, we have had 5 full production days and have at least one more.
This is going to be an action/suspense movie. Having watched action movies for as long as I can remember, this is the project that I have been waiting for. I am anxious to share it with everyone after it makes its premiere at the Film Festival.
With the limited time we’ve had to work on this, it has been a process of coming home after shooting and immediately logging the footage and editing, compositing and coloring, since there wasn’t going to be time to do post production after shooting was completed. So, it’s all been happening at once.
It has been a wonderful experience and I owe it all to my amazing crew: Jacob Hamil, James Wheeler, and Abby Johnson.
It has been an all or nothing kind of project and everybody has had multiple jobs. Whether it’s acting, running a camera, holding the shot slate, a microphone, or a bounce card, everybody has done just about everything.
Once the movie is released, we will have a blooper reel. Jacob has been piecing it together as the dailies come in and has had a hard time editing because he can’t stop laughing. I hope everyone else enjoys seeing how we keep our sanity on these long shoots (or lose it depending on how you view it).
On another topic, we have recently been given presented with some great opportunities and one exceptionally unique opportunity. As more develops on this particular course, Jacob and I will be keeping everyone updated. I’m very excited to share what it is, but, you will just have to wait. But, believe me when I say that it is something that everyone will want to be a part of.
Until next time…
The Day You Long to Remember
Weddings provide life-long memories of a day that one spends months (or years) to plan and on which one can spend thousands (or tens of thousands) yet only lasts a few hours and is often lost in the vortex of faulty human recollection. This day teems with undeniably beautiful moments that race in and out of existence, sometimes in a single instance. Despite the criticisms of amateur videographers, professional wedding filmmakers capture whole moments, both visual and auditory, that single images cannot.
The wedding day, for the couple, is typically the busiest, most stressful day that either of them will have had to that point in their lives. It is a beautiful collection of breathtaking moments that the couple, their friends, and their families will want to remember for the rest of their days. Although it is an incredibly involved day on the part of many, it tends to flash by in one incredibly emotion-filled instant. In many ways, the bride and groom are so overwhelmed by love, laughs, hugs, and tears that they hardly remember specifics of the day once it has passed. From preparation to riding off in a sunset bound limo, the beautiful moments make their appearance throughout the day, sometimes without the knowledge of the bride and groom. Wedding videography is an industry designed to capture all the beautiful aspects of this special day of the two souls’ cohesion. One monumental facet of this encapsulation is the recording of audio.
The audio reproduction is, most likely, one of the most tremendous grounds on which having the wedding filmed should become priority. There are innumerable amounts of advice and wishes bestowed on the bride and groom, but the sum is so immense that most of these things are forgotten. One particular audio token that will remain special to the couple is the wise advice the parents and grandparents bestow upon them, such as the fact that when “things get tough for the couple, communication is key” or “’Yes m’am’ is always the best answer.” Along with that and, perhaps more important, the exact vows shared between the bride and groom accompanied by their affirmation of “I do” during the ceremony are captured in their entirety. Although both these topics will always be remembered, no one wants to forget the wonderful wishes of love conveyed through the toasts at the reception. Despite the fact that film captures audio in a wedding, film can also catch an entire moment, not just a single glimpse.
The photographer has an incredible job in catching a beautiful moment inside a single frame, but film can capture an entire moment that can be relived over and over. Video grasps live action that photographs may not necessarily be able to convey, such as the flower girls picking each other’s noses in the reception or the ring bearer growling as he marches the pillow with the rings down the aisle. It also allows the bride and groom to revisit the experiences they enjoyed the most along with moments for which they couldn’t be present, like what the groomsmen and bridesmaids did to the car in which bride and groom leave the event. Film provides many different ways to enjoy whole moments, but the industry receives a fair bit of criticism because of amateurs who claim to be professionals.
Wedding film and videos have taken a hit since film cameras and camcorders became affordable to the general public. Hiring professional filmmakers is a great way to give that cousin with the camcorder from 1993 a rest. It also provides a beautiful way for the couple and family to enjoy their day without the stress of worry for the poor lad. Time and time again, filmmakers are told of disasters with film amateurs such as a friend agreeing to video for free and never showing up or a cousin losing all the video cards and then claiming that he gave them to the bride. Wedding film is not a “lights, camera, ACTION!” affair, and the professional filmmakers will make it a priority to remain invisible to those around them. Most likely the biggest reason couples won’t hire filmmakers is due to price. Why not pay for something that isn’t restricted by time as opposed things that are? Couples will pay copious amounts of money for flowers and dresses that will only be used for a single day. The investment in having a beautiful high quality reproduction of that special day is more than worth the money that is spent on it.
The wedding day is, most likely, the most stressful day in the couple’s life up to that point, and the memories of that day will continually fade over the years to come, unless they can be reminded of them. Hiring filmmakers is a great way to capture a large portion of the beautiful moments and the audio that it entails rather than just a silent, single slice of that moment. This capture can be conveyed in high definition film that will be a fantastically vivid reminder of that special day. Wedding filmmakers work tirelessly to re-frame the predisposition against wedding film by creating beautiful masterpieces of timeless memorabilia for the bride and groom to cherish for the rest of their days. Although harsh criticism revolves around amateur videographers, professional filmmakers make it their priority to capture whole moments, visual and auditory, that can be relived time and time again.
Out of the Darkness
Sometimes, we get to break away from wedding videos and TV commercials. It’s very refreshing when those opportunities arise because, we are given full creative control with very little agenda.
A few weeks ago, we were approached by a committee at Lubbock Christian University to produce a short film for their Out of the Darkness week. In short, it is a week devoted to raising awareness for the on-campus counseling center.
All we were given was the four topics (guilt, anxiety, anger, and self worth) and told to keep it under 10 minutes. From there, it was up to us. Due to some other irons in the fire, we really only had 2 weeks to complete the job.
So, once we decided to do this, we jumped in face first and didn’t look back. Between Jacob and I, we spent quite a bit of time on the phone, Skype, and the Facebook instant messenger working on pre-production. It was the most hectic project we’ve taken on. The way it had to work was, we started shooting before pre-production was completed. We only had a solid script for the first shoot (guilt) before we shot it. The rest was pretty much developed on the fly… We had general ideas, but, with the time constraints, we really didn’t have a good grasp on what we could or couldn’t accomplish until we got to the shoot.
The toughest shoot was definitely Anxiety. We had no idea what we were going to do for that story. So, Jacob and I sat down on a Sunday afternoon with our father (Lonnie Hamil) and our brother (Reed Hamil) to get some consultation on the topic. Once we had finished talking to them, we drew up a scripting idea and shot it about 2 hours later.
Anger and Self-Worth, were no picnic either. Between our deadline rapidly drawing near and having to deal with the workday schedules of our actors and actresses, the shoots had to be planned to a “t.” All things considered, I think that everything went extremely smooth.
This project took about 2 solid weeks of 18-hour days on location and sitting in front of my computer with a really bad bug in the middle of it that had me on NyQuil for about 3 full days. On top of that, Jacob’s involvement in school really limited the amount of time he was able to be involved in post production, but, he didn’t let that stop him from really putting in a lot of effort. He admits that I had to do most of the work on this project, but, he was really the glue that held this thing together. He kept a lot of the little things in order and kept them from turning into big things (aka: production delays). From continuity on set to putting together the ending credits, Jacob did a smashing job.
Between, 9 Locations, 72 visual effects shots, 2 green screen shoots, 16 3d animations, 5 edits, 5 color grades, and 15 songs, this was the single biggest production we’ve done and did it with no budget and no time.
I don’t brag on my work, but, I’m darn proud to have been a part of this.
I really can’t thank everyone involve enough, either. If you watch the film, please watch through the ending credits as there are a ton of people who helped, and, frankly, I’m completely wiped out and don’t think I have it in me to type anymore.
If you’ve made it this far, I applaud you. I hope to have another blog soon with a breakdown of the film from start to finish.
I have really been blessed with this incredible opportunity! I loved working with the LCU Counseling Center and the Out of the Darkness committee on this great venture. With school stress at an all time high for me, it was a little overbearing to accept another large bit of work and without Ross none of this would have happened. I learned a ton from this film and this experience and it’s been a great three weeks.
I can’t tell you how much Ross did. He’s a genius mastermind of visual effects and camera work. I enjoyed doing the more tedious things in production like working on set cosmetics, lighting, running back and forth from the car to grab different things, getting lunch, script writing, and being comic relief. I really wish I could have done more, but due to computer restrictions and school engagements my work was pretty limited (hopefully the computer will be solved in the near future). All of that to say, if Ross didn’t put the time and effort into this film, it was sure to be a disaster.
I’ve been really blessed to work for G&H Media since May, 2012.The fluid work that we do is really owed to the great work environment. I was told last week that we work “too well together.” I love my job!! All the experience is much appreciated and I look forward to doing more outside-the-box jobs like “Out of the Darkness.” It was a fantastic venture and I hope to get to be as creative in future jobs.